What is Jamu

What is Jamu? - The Origin of Jamu

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What are Jamu and its History?

Jamu and its History

Jamu is a traditional supplement from Indonesia. Despite its popularity throughout Indonesia, it seems most prevalent in Java. 

In History, jamu herbal culture is commonplace in the Javanese royal courts of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, where the ancient recipes on herbal medicine are kept in the royal library, and jamu supplement is prescribed to royalties of Javanese keraton

According to Javanese believe, the famed beauty of Putri keraton (princess and palace ladies) is owed to jamu and lulur (traditional lotion).

Jamu is believed to have been born in the Mataram Kingdom era, c. 1300 years ago.

The word jamu is Javanese in origin. It is derived from the Javanese words that consist of Jawa (JA -) refers to "Javanese" or "Java", and NGRAMU means "mixing" the ingredients. This can be roughly translated as "the concoction made by the Javanese" or "the concoction originated from Java". ~ JA "ngra" Mu ~

The other theory also suggests that jamu derives from the ancient Javanese term of jampi, which means "magic spell", referring to the mantras spelt by a bomoh (shamans) to the potion. It is believed that jamu was initially used by bomoh as one of the spiritual needs (especially for black magic practices). 

Listed above is just two of the theory of its origin. Many version of it exists. Like much other ancient stuff hard to say which the real ones are.

Wait...! That was just a history lesson! At JawdaHerbs or anywhere jamu that you buy, We don't use Jampi or whatever is spelt in your drinks. We are past believing that black magic works in these modern days :)

Jamu came in what form?

Jamu form

It's often in liquid, capsules, pills or powder, and you won't be able to find it in gummy or chewable tablets. Let's go thru each of the form's pros and cons.

Pills and Capsules

Good-made pills or capsules provide a very effective delivery system, making them the chosen form of most herbal supplements. This is because years of carefully controlled studies have confirmed they're practical, efficient delivery systems for absorption.

They may be included for stability, manufacturing, or other similar.

Its belief is that tablets' stability and shelf-life are also superior to the others. 

Many of these nutrients or herbs also have a bad taste that can be difficult to hide in other forms.

Pils and Capsule Pros:

  • Long shelf-life

  • Hides bad tastes

Tablet and Capsule Cons:

  • Difficult for some to swallow

  • Not appropriate for sizeable active ingredient doses


The active ingredients in powdered supplements will be tasted, so they must have a pleasant or easily masked flavour. It must also contain ingredients that are soluble in the liquid or are easy to shake/stir up.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and caffeine are commonly found in powdered mixes. Immune-boosting formulas are also widely found in sachet packs, which can easily mix with water.

Jamu powder is trendy in Indonesia and known for its unpleasant taste. So, many of the younger generations will say no more jamu after their first try.

Powder Pros:

  • Inexpensive to pack or transport

  • Can include large doses of active ingredients

Powder Cons:

  • Less concentrated active ingredients

  • Added sweeteners and excipients


Liquid supplements generally have the same ingredients, benefits, and cons as powdered; the one difference is they are already mixed with a liquid.

Liquid supplements are best for ingredients often found in powders, like protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and caffeine. Micronutrients often found in liquid supplements include most vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants.

Since they are already mixed, liquid supplements typically have a shorter shelf-life than their powdered equivalent. 

Liquid supplements may also require many more "other" ingredients, including emulsifiers, solvents, preservatives, stabilizing agents, colouring, flavouring, and more.

The excellent news is that Jamu is made from natural ingredients such as herbs, roots, etc., so it could easily brew or cold press it into Jamu Juice! Ensure you get that freshly made jamu to avoid all the "other" ingredients.

Liquids Pros:

  • More convenient than mixing powders

  • Can include large doses of active ingredients

Liquids Cons:

  • More expensive and difficult to pack and transport

  • Difficult to add non-soluble ingredients

  • Added sweeteners

  • Often a shorter shelf-life

Herbs used in Jamu

What herbs used in Jamu

There are hundreds of herbs for jamu recipes and prescriptions. Some are:

Roots (Rhizomes):

  • Bengle (Zingiber brevifolium)
  • Jahe Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Kencur Aromatic Galangal (Kaempferia galanga)
  • Kunyit Turmeric (Curcuma domestica)
  • Lempuyang (Zingiber zerumbet or Zingiber aromaticum)
  • Lengkuas or Laos Greater Galangal (Alpinia galanga)
  • Temulawak (Curcuma xanthorrhiza)


  • Adas (Foeniculum vulgare Mill)


  • Ceplukan Cutleaf groundcherry (Physalis angulata)
  • Jeruk Nipis Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle)
  • Nyamplung or kosambi (Calophyllum inophyllum)


  • Kayu Manis Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii)


  • Ilang-ilang Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
  • Melati Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
  • Rumput Alang-alang (Gramineae)


  • Brotowali or bratawali (Tinospora crispa or Tinospora tuberculata rumphii)
  • Sambang Darah (Excoecaria cochinchinensis or Excoecaria bicolor)
  • Secang (Caesalpinia sappan)

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